Golden goal vaults Lions past Wa-Hi in overtime

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WALLA WALLA — Kennewick High School scored a golden goal a minute and 30 seconds into overtime here Saturday afternoon in Mid-Columbia boys soccer action.

Walla Walla High School fought back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the match at 2-2 at the end of regulation, but the Lions’ counterattack in overtime gave the Lions the 3-2 win.

The Lions got the first good look as Ramiro Chavez got free for a blast on goal from the left side. Wa-Hi goalie Antonio Meza stuck out an arm and knocked Chavez’ shot away to preserve a 0-0 game in the seventh minute.

Kennewick continued the pressure and Miguel Lopez got loose and scored in the 15th minute, but an offsides call negated the goal.

The Lions finally broke through off a counterattack when Chavez split two Blue Devil defenders and rolled his shot to the back of the net for a 1-0 Lion lead with 11:30 left in the first half.

Wa-Hi’s best opportunity came in the closing seconds of the half as Jose Maya outraced Kennewick to a loose ball and fired a shot on goal, but Lion keeper Henry Hernandez saved it. Kennewick went to intermission up 1-0.

The Blue Devils turned it up a notch to open the second half.

Gerardo Gomez broke through the Lion defense but had his shot partially blocked in front one minute in. Maya got the ball to Fransico Sanchez, who fired from the left wing only to have Hernandez make a kick save two minutes later. Christian Sergovia had his header go just over the top of the net four minutes into the second half. Sanchez had an open look but lost his footing in the 47th minute.

“We played with more attacking,” Wa-Hi coach Mike Washington said of the halftime adjustments. “We played with three on top and tried to force the game. I think we did that and that changed (the match).”

The Lions got a rebound off a free kick from Chavez and Edward Grandos-Lopez put the rebound away for a 2-0 Lion lead in the 58th minute.

Wa-Hi answered. Sergovia booted a pass from midfield to Sanchez at the 18. As Hernandez charged, Sanchez lifted a shot over his head and into the back of the net to get Wa-Hi within 2-1 with 29:00 left.

The Lions earned a penalty kick with 24:18 left and Chavez converted, but the goal was not allowed as the Lions entered too soon. Chavez second try hit the post and bounced away.

Ricardo Saldana controlled the ball at midfield for Wa-Hi in the 79th minute and got a pass up the far side to Alexis Medina, who drew a foul in the penalty box. Maya drilled his PK into the lower left corner for a 2-2 tie. Neither team threatened the rest of the way as regulation ended in a 2-2 draw.

“Their defense was very flat,” Washington said. “We had to get balls in behind it. We did that (in the second half). They only played three at the back, but once we started to pursue it, they went to four. But, it gave us the opportunity to get back into the game.”

The Blue Devils had the first opportunity in overtime. Saldana advanced the ball to Maya on the right seam, but Maya’s blast went over the top 20 seconds in.

The Lions responded with their own attack and Chavez got free down the middle and put his golden goal home 90 seconds into overtime.

“We have trouble with counterattacks,” Washington said of the game winner. “We can’t put all that effort going forward and then make little mistakes at the back that cost us. That’s just unfortunate, but it was a good effort to come back.”

Wa-Hi drops to 0-2 in the MCC and travels to Spokane for a non-conference match with Gonzaga Prep Monday and returns to MCC play with a trip to Richland Tuesday.

“We can fight,” Washington said of the Blue Devils progress. “We’re good enough. We just have to believe in it and stop thinking individually. We’ll be fine.”

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